Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
ISABELLA INDIAN RESERVATION It was a long and painful weekend for Jaimee Chamberlain, 21, the mother of four year old Carnel Chamberlain, who has been missing since Thursday night.
Jaimee Chamberlains, Missing boy's mother (l)
Comforted by a Fellow Tribal Member
Chamberlain who is employed as a hostess in one of the Soaring Eagle Casino restaurants worked a 3:45 pm to 10 pm shift on Thursday. Young Carnel Chamberlain was under the care of Jaimee's boyfriend of seven months, Anthony M. Bennett, while she worked.
Upon arrival home on the Isabella Indian Reservation, she asked her boyfriend where Carnel was. The boyfriend, who watched Carnel while Jaimee worked, had been cleaning the above ground pool and thought Carnel was in the yard.
When they discovered he was not there, his mother immediately called the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police department.
“It is not like him to wander far from our house,”
Jaimee Chamberlain told the Native News Network on Saturday. She was in the parking lot of the Nimkee Medical Clinic, owned and operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Flanked by her mother and a nephew, the young mother was hugged and embraced by well wishers who came to join the rescue search party.
“I just don't know what happened to him,”
she repeatedly told people who walked over to her to comfort her.
Louanna Bruner, Treasurer of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe
calling for volunteers on Saturday
Hundreds of volunteers have been combing the tribal lands of the Isabella Indian Reservation and off reservation lands in and around the town of Mt. Pleasant in Isabella County, Michigan since Friday. Volunteers have included tribal citizens, employees of tribal operations and tribal enterprises. They have been both American Indian and non Indians, who simply want the safe return of Carnel to his mother.
Sunday, cadaver dogs from the Michigan State Police were used in the search that was conducted in densely wooded areas. Helicopters hovered overhead as part of the intensive search.
Also, on Sunday, Tribal police and rescue workers searched a water treatment pond that can be seen from the Chamberlain home.
The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Department is taking the lead on this case, with the assistance of the FBI. The FBI is conducts investigations on American Indian reservations when there may possibly be a felony involved.
On Saturday, the Tribe released a news release indicating that law enforcement had shifted its focus to Bennett, though the Tribe did not release his name in its news release.
“The mother has been fully cooperative in this developing investigation. The boyfriend, however, has not fully cooperated with the investigation, thus far,”
stated the news release issued Saturday morning by the Tribe.
Both Pictures are of Carnel Chamberlain age 4
Young Carnel's father is not active in his life, according to Jaimee Chamberlain and is not suspected to be involved in his son's disappearance.
Both Chamberlain and Bennett are tribal citizens of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe. A cousin of Chamberlain's, Kevin Chamberlain served as chief of the Tribe during from 1997 to 1999.
The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe is headquartered on the Isabella Indian Reservation, which sits some 160 miles northwest of Detroit in mid Michigan. Mt. Pleasant is home to Central Michigan University.
Members of the community searching on their own, please contact the Tribal Police should you come across items that are suspicious in nature at 989.775.4700 or the Tip Line 989.775.4775.
posted June 25, 2012 6:30 am edt